Patricia Jane Berg (February 13, 1918 – September 10, 2006) was an American professional golfer and a founding member and then leading player on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour during the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s. Her 15 major title wins remains the all-time record for most major wins by a female golfer. She is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Berg was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and attended the University of Minnesota where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
Berg took up golf in 1931 and began her amateur career in 1934, winning her first title that year - the Minneapolis City Championship. She came to national attention by reaching the final of the 1935 U.S. Women's Amateur, losing to Glenna Collett-Vare in Vare's final Amateur victory. Berg won the Titleholders in 1937. In 1938, she won the U.S. Women's Amateur at Westmoreland and the Women's Western Amateur.
After winning 29 amateur titles, she turned professional in 1940. During World War II she was a lieutenant in the Marines, 1942-45. In 1948, she helped establish, and became the first president of, the LPGA. She won the inaugural U.S. Women's Open in 1946. Berg won a total of 57 events on the LPGA and WPGA circuit, and was runner-up in the 1957 Open at Winged Foot. She was runner-up in the 1956 and 1959 LPGA Championships. In addition, Berg won the 1953, 1957, and 1958 Women's Western Opens, the 1955 and 1957 Titleholders, both considered majors at the time. Her last victory came in 1962. She was voted the Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year in 1938, 1942 and 1955.
In 1963, Berg was voted the recipient of the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. Berg received the 1986 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA's highest honor. The LPGA established the Patty Berg Award in 1978. In her later years, Berg teamed-up with PGA Tour player and fellow Fort Myers, Florida resident Nolan Henke to establish the Nolan Henke/Patty Berg Junior Masters to promote the development of young players.
Berg was sponsored on the LPGA Tour her entire career by public golf patriarch Joe Jemsek, owner of the famous Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Illinois, site of the PGA Tour's Western Open from 1991 to 2006. Berg represented another of Jemsek's public facilities, St. Andrews Golf & Country Club in West Chicago, Illinois, on the women’s circuit for over 60 years.
Berg told Chicagoland Golf magazine she taught over 16,000 clinics in her lifetime – many of which were sponsored by Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods and were called “The Patty Berg Hit Parade.” In that interview, Berg figured she personally indoctrinated to the game of golf over a half-million new players. She was a member of Wilson's Advisory Staff for 66 years, until her death.
She announced in December 2004 that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She died in Fort Myers from complications of the disease 21 months later at the age of 88.